Timmy Vachon's memory honored
Posted December 12, 2007
Bronze sculpture dedicated as part of memorial
at St. Hugo of the Hills School
BLOOMFIELD HILLS — The spirit of Timmy Vachon filled St. Hugo of the Hills School Nov. 30 as a tremendous outpouring of family, friends, teachers and classmates gathered to honor his memory.
Timmy was killed in February 2007 after being hit by a snowmobile while taking ski lessons at Alpine Valley Ski Resort in White Lake Township. He was 7 years old.
Although grief remains over his premature passing, the former St. Hugo student will forever be honored with a symbol of his life. Timmy’s former first-grade classmates and their families raised money for a life-sized bronze sculpture of Timmy — created by Grosse Pointe Park artist Janice Trimpe — by collecting and returning cans, and gathering donations over the past year.
To produce the sculpture, Trimpe used several photos to create a three-dimensional likeness. She said she relied on photos from the Vachon family and friends because the Vachon home was struck by lightning and burned to the ground a few months before Timmy’s death.
The smiling sculpture of Timmy — dressed in a T-shirt, cargo shorts and Crocs — shows him wearing a baseball glove on one hand and grasping a baseball in the other.
“He loved his Crocs — he wore them 24/7 — and baseball was, by far, his favorite sport,” Timmy’s father, Marc Vachon of Bloomfield Township, said. “Curtis Granderson was his favorite player and he knew every Tiger’s number and batting average. He was just a fanatic.”
The statue was dedicated by Father Charlie Fox of St. Hugo of the Hills Nov. 30 and was placed in the garden area in front of the school.
Sprinkling holy water on the statue during the dedication, Fox told students that the sculpture would serve as a reminder of Timmy’s life, and that he lives on. He ended the ceremony by saying a final prayer as Timmy’s family and friends watched the holy water glisten on the bronzed face of his statue.
“Almighty God, our loving father, we thank you for the gift of Timmy’s life, of the love he showed, and the friendship he gave us. We ask you to bless this statue, created in his memory. May it always remind us of him, and even more may it remind us of the hope of life in heaven,” he said.
St. Hugo of the Hills Principal Sister Margaret VanVelzen said Timmy — whose motto was “never give up” — was “a very darling young man who loved other people.”
“As Catholic Christians, we believe in the communion of saints, and we’ll ask Timmy to help us out for many years to come. … We’d rather have Timmy here, but it’s a very beautiful sculpture,” she said.
Timmy’s father said Trimpe is a very talented sculptor, adding that he thinks the statue is “absolutely beautiful.”
“It looks just like him. It’s unbelievable,” he said.
The statue of Timmy shows what a wonderful community the Vachon family is lucky to be a part of, Marc said.
“I don’t think my family — myself, my wife, and our kids — could do this if it wasn’t for the community that we are a part of, here at the school and the parish. … He was a wonderful boy, and we miss him dearly. Life’s not the same without him,” Marc said.
Timmy is survived by his parents, Anne and Marc, and two sisters — his twin Mary Claire and older sister Charlotte — who both attend St. Hugo of the Hills School.
About the author
Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond covers the city of Rochester, Rochester Community Schools and Avondale Schools for the Post. Almond has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2005 and attended Michigan State University.
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